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Celebrate Earth Day!

Experience Earth Day in Alexandria, Louisiana

By Carly Rogers | April 22 , 2008
Kid Reporter Carly Rogers with Alexandria Zoo videographer Angele Ehlers. (Photo courtesy of Carly Rogers)<br />
Kid Reporter Carly Rogers with Alexandria Zoo videographer Angele Ehlers. (Photo courtesy of Carly Rogers)

Have you ever wondered what Earth Day is, or how you can celebrate the Earth? If you have, take a look at how a class in Alexandria, Louisiana celebrates Earth Day in style!

Almost everyone knows Earth Day is a day set aside to celebrate planet Earth. But some may not know that there are two commonly celebrated Earth Days: the Equinox Earth Day and the April 22 Earth Day.

The Equinox and the April 22 Earth Day

The Equinox Earth Day actually occurs on two separate days. One observance is during the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere while the other observance takes place during the autumn equinox in the Southern Hemisphere.

John McConnell organized the first April 22 Earth Day in 1970. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Web site, the U.S. government supports this celebration each year. Its purpose is to provoke thought of and realization of the worth of Earth’s environment.

Earth Day in Alexandria

Peabody Montessori Magnet School teacher Amber Eskew asked several of her students to write about what Earth Day means to them. Zoë Coullvion, a fifth-grade student, said, “It means so much to have Earth Day that it is practically unexplainable in words. Earth Day serves as a constant reminder to think of the planet first.” Abigail Thomas, another fifth-grader, said, “I don’t go walking around just saying ‘I love Earth Day.’ My family and I celebrate Earth Day every year.”There is not just one way to celebrate Earth Day. There are many! Some include cleaning up a park or a playground at school and recycling. Several Boy Scout members from Alexandria, Louisiana, picked up trash and recycled what they collected. Another way is to conserve water or plant flowers, shrubs, or even trees.

Ms. Eskew’s gifted science class at Peabody Montessori Magnet School made up of third-, fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-graders, planted a pin oak on their school playground. The students had some help digging the hole, but they inserted the tree and added potting soil as a symbol of appreciation for our Earth. Anna Camille St. Amant, a fourth-grader said, “We had a blast with it!”

According to Alexandria Zoo videographer Angele Ehlers, the City of Alexandria has celebrated Earth Day for 20 years with “Party for the Planet” held annually at the Alexandria Zoo. This year’s party included a new amphibian display, featuring gray tree frog, green tree frog, spotted salamander, squirrel tree frog, greater siren, African frog, marbled salamander, salamander larvae (Winn Parish), eastern state frog southern toad, central newt, mole salamander, and Cuban tree frog. It was a celebration of “The Year of the Frog” as declared by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). And, no, it’s not based on the Chinese calendar. It is because planet Earth has lost 30 percent of all amphibians, including frogs. Scientists cannot confirm a single reason why some frogs and other amphibians are extinct or at risk of extinction. But it is felt that this situation serves as an “indicator of overall environmental health” according to Russell Mittermeier, president of Conservation International.

To celebrate further, there were 15 interactive booths at the Alexandria Zoo. Twelve-year-old Elise Lee said, “My favorite booth was the Roy O. Martin booth. We made coasters there.” There was another site where you could make bird feeders out of recycled water bottles. In fact, that was what Eden Barnhart, 6, said was her favorite activity. Other exciting things to do was to have your picture taken with the GEICO gecko, several other crafts and take-home projects, games, and lots of giveaways.

To keep toes tappin’, there was live musical entertainment—two local bands and one band from Dallas, Texas, called Vocal Trash. They were great! Have a listen at www.carolmarksmusic.com/vocal_trash.htm.

Now that you know the importance of our home, Earth, and some ways to celebrate Earth Day, don’t delay—start celebrating today.

EARTH DAY

Celebrate Earth Day with Scholastic News Online! Learn more about how you can help take care of our planet in this special report.

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About the Author

Carly Rogers is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

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